Baz Lurhmann’s creation of the film Romeo and Juliet has shown that today’s audience can still understand and appreciate William Shakespeare. Typically, when a modern audience think of Shakespeare, they immediately think it will be boring, yet Lurhmann successfully rejuvenates Romeo and Juliet. In his film production he uses a number of different cinematic techniques, costumes and a formidably enjoyable soundtrack; yet changes not one word from Shakespeare’s original play, thus making it appeal to a modern audience.
Lurhmann sets the film in a fictitious border city between the United States and Mexico. The city is called ‘Verona’ so it maintains its original name from the play. It is extremely built-up and urban just like New York or London so that a modern audience can relate to the film and understand where the film is set. In other modern films, a big urban city is usually the setting where there are big gang rivalries and Lurhmann makes this clear by showing that the Montague’s and Capulet’s are the big two families in the city and they are not to be reckoned with.
Lurhmann takes lines and words from the original play and uses them in completely different contexts. When Tybalt is in the petrol station, he draws his gun and the camera zooms in on the name of the gun which is ‘sword’. Benvolio says, “Draw thy sword”. Instead of the characters taking out large swords which would be have been used hundreds of years ago, Lurhmann takes the name of a gun and calls it a sword thus making it easier for a modern audience to refer to. By using a gun and not a sword, Lurhmann relates to the modern audience even further because there are hardly any sights of swords in this modern era yet you hear about guns every day in the news. A gun relates to the modern world where audiences would have heard about guns every day in the news.
Modern audiences are used to very quick, dynamic and fast camera action. Lurhmann open his film with a camera zooming onto a TV set with a woman on the news explaining what’s going to happen in the film. The camera suddenly switches into the view from a helicopter flying around the city. The camera angles change very quickly, going from high above the city to inline with buildings and then from zoomed-out into zoomed in images of the whole city. By Lurhmann using this technique early on in the movie, he makes the opening extremely intense and thus intense. The audience are instantly on edge waiting for the next quick camera movement on what’s going to happen next.
Lurhmann also uses music to relate to the modern society. The Montague’s are seen driving in their car with happy and cool attitudes, electrical rock and rap playing in their car. The music represents what kind of group the Montague’s are and shows their character’s appeal. Suddenly the Capulet’s pull up in the petrol station with electrical western music playing, showing their different type of characters, as they represent the ‘Latino’ side of the city. As the...